Blair Kerkhoff

Conference Call: Big upsets follow pair of big wins

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

East Carolina quarterback, Shane Carden eluded Virginia Tech’s Deon Clarke on Saturday.
East Carolina quarterback, Shane Carden eluded Virginia Tech’s Deon Clarke on Saturday. The Associated Press

Hangovers usually don’t hit until the next morning.

But two of the most celebrated victors of the previous week, Virginia Tech and Southern California, brought the willies with them to their games on Saturday and lost in upset fashion.

The Hokies fell at home to East Carolina, and the Trojans went across the country and lost to Boston College.

Tech was coming off one of the greatest road victories in the program’s history, at Ohio State. But it took the Hokies a quarter to show up in Blacksburg, Va., falling behind 21-0 after one quarter in a 28-21 loss.

It marked only the second time an opponent had scored 21 first-quarter points against a Frank Beamer-coached team, and the loss was the fourth in the last five games for Tech after defeating a ranked opponent.

“I thought we were ready to play,” Beamer said. “I thought we had all the respect in the world for East Carolina.”

Pirates quarterback Shane Carden, who threw three interceptions against Tech last year, passed for 427 yards and three touchdowns. Plus, he scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 16 seconds remaining.

A week after winning at Stanford, Southern California jumped on Boston College 17-6, but the Eagles scored the next 24 and wound up with 452 rushing yards. Quarterback Tyler Murphy had 191, including the game-clinching score on a 66-yard run with 3:30 remaining.

Boston College defeated a top-10 opponent as an unranked team for the fifth time in school history, and this one was especially emotional. The school honored Welles Crowther, the Boston College student who died on Sept. 11, 2001, rescuing people from the Twin Towers. The team incorporated red bandanas into the helmets and uniforms. Crowther wore a bandana as a lacrosse player.

“Our guys dug deep on this,” Eagles coach Steve Addazio said.

Big 12

▪ RISING: Oklahoma led Tennessee by 17 early in the fourth quarter, but Julian Wilson made sure the Volunteers would not come back. He ended up with a tipped pass by Justin Worley and returned the interception 100 yards for a touchdown.

▪ FALLING: Texas, protecting a 17-13 lead over UCLA, recovered a fumble with 4:17 left and appeared headed for the upset in Arlington, Texas. But instead of bleeding the clock, the Longhorns stayed hurry-up and didn’t collect a first down. The Bruins got the ball back in less than a minute, and Jerry Neuheisel tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton for the game-winner in a 20-17 decision.

Southeastern

▪ RISING: Ground and pound dominated the Air Raid. Arkansas rolled to 438 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in a 49-28 victory at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders couldn’t stop Alex Collins (212 yards, two touchdowns) or Jonathan Williams (145, four touchdowns).

▪ FALLING: Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan had set an SEC record by making his 20th straight field goal earlier in the game, but he missed a chip-shot 28-yarder that would have tied the game late in the fourth quarter, preserving South Carolina’s 38-35 victory.

Big Ten

▪ RISING: On the fourth play Saturday night against Fresno State, Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong connected with Jordan Westercamp for a 70-yard touchdown strike in a 55-19 victory, ending the Bulldogs’ 13-game home-field winning streak.. Husker nation is breathing a little easier a week after escaping McNeese State.

▪ FALLING: Has that icing-the-kicker timeout ever worked? It not only didn’t work for Iowa, but it backfired on coach Kirk Ferentz, who called a timeout just before Iowa State kicker Cole Netten pulled a 42-yarder. With the reprieve, Netten drilled it for a 20-17 triumph.

Pac-12

▪ RISING: Arizona State and Arizona remained undefeated. The Sun Devils won at Colorado 38-24 but might have lost quarterback Taylor Kelly in the process. Kelly threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another before leaving the game because of a right foot injury after a scramble. Arizona’s productive offense kept rolling in a 35-28 victory over Nevada. Nick Wilson rushed for 171 yards, giving the Wildcats a 100-yard rusher for the 20th straight game.

▪ FALLING: Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian is right. “The goal, obviously, of being Pac-12 champs is very well alive for us,” he said after the 37-31 loss at Boston College. Still, this one hurt, and dropped USC from ninth to No. 17 in the AP rankings.

Atlantic Coast

▪ RISING: Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt, all 6 feet 3 and 235 pounds of him, was too much for Central Michigan. Hunt passed for 175 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns in a 40-3 domination in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

▪ FALLING: Louisville’s first loss as an ACC member came at Virginia. The Cavaliers clinched the 23-21 victory when running back Kevin Parks bulled for a first down with less than 2 minutes remaining to allow Virginia to take a victory formation.

Others

▪ RISING: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology of Terre Haute, Ind., and Illinois College rewrote the record book. Rose-Hulman prevailed 74-68 in triple overtime, tying the NCAA Division III record for combined points in a game. The teams also set a record for combined plays (231), and Illinois College set a mark for one team with 117.

▪ FALLING: Texas-San Antonio lost at Oklahoma State 43-13, and starting quarterback Tucker Carter finished the game on the sideline in street clothes after suffering a shoulder injury. But freshman Blake Bogenschutz engineered a 73-yard touchdown drive to cut the deficit to 14 points early in the fourth quarter.

Committee of one

PROJECTING THE NATIONAL SEMIFINALS

▪ Rose Bowl: No.1 Oregon vs. No. 4 Oklahoma

▪ Sugar Bowl: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Texas A&M

▪ Knocking on the door: Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Notre Dame

Ranking the Big 12

Team result this weekend

Next opponent

Comment

1.Oklahoma (1) d. Tennessee 34-12

at West Virginia

Convincing victory over Vols

2. Baylor (2) d. Buffalo 63-21

Open

Wide-receiver group is special

3. Kansas State (3) open

Auburn (Thurs.)

Snyder, Malzahn great offensive minds

4. Oklahoma State (4) d. Tex-San Antonio

Open

QB Daxx Garman played well for J.W. Walsh

5. West Virginia (5) d. Maryland 40-37

Oklahoma

Mountaineers QB Clint Trickett is rolling

6. TCU (6) d. Minnesota 30-7

Open

Frogs forced five Gophers’ turnovers

7. Texas (8) l. UCLA 20-17

Open

Lost opportunity vs. Bruins

8. Iowa State (9) d. Iowa 20-17

Open

Trailed Iowa 14-3 at halftime

9. Texas Tech (7) l. Arkansas 49-28

Open

Defense worn out by Hogs

10.Kansas (10) l. Duke 41-3

Cent. Mich

Dismal effort in Durham

Last week’s ranking in parentheses

Ranking the SEC

Team result this weekend

Next opponent

Comment

1.Texas A&M (2) d. Rice 38-10

at SMU

Defense gave up 481 vs. Rice

2. Alabama (3) d. So. Miss 52-12

Florida

Blake Sims further staked QB claim

3. Auburn (4) open

at K-State (Thurs)

Tigers can pile up points

4. LSU (5) d. La.-Monroe 31-0

Miss St.

Yielded 93 total yards to Monroe

5. South Carolina (10) d. Georgia 38-35

at Vanderbilt

Season-saving victory over Bulldogs

6. Georgia (1) l. South Caroilna 38-35

Troy

Play-calling late costly at Columbia

7. Missouri (7) d. Central Florida 38-10

Indiana

At South Carolina in two weeks

8. Mississippi (6) d. La.-Lafayette 56-15

open

Four TD passes for Bo Wallace

9. Mississippi State (9) d. South Alabama 35-3

at LSU

QB Dak Prescott even caught a TD pass

10. Arkansas (13) d. Texas Tech 49-28

Northern Ill.

Bret Bielema’s best victory at Arkansas

11. Florida (8) d. Kentucky 36-30, 3OT

at Alabama

Gators escape, questions remain

12. Tennessee (11) l. Oklahoma 34-10

open

Interceptions were killers vs. Sooners

13. Kentucky (12) l. Florida 36-30, 3OT

open

If loss can feel encouraging…

14. Vanderbilt (14) w. Massachusetts 34-31

So. Carolina

If a victory can feel discouraging…

Last week’s ranking in parentheses

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @BlairKerkhoff.

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